Victory at Lands’ End: Are Conservatives Learning How to Win the Left’s Game?

Conservatives may actually be voting with their dollars — the ultimate pressure point for every corporation.

By Lance Wray Published on October 3, 2016

Liberals have long understood corporations’ pressure points; it’s hardly a surprise when outrage politics cows a billion-dollar company leading to public mea culpas and, in some cases, resignations. But recent developments appear to indicate that the so-called silent majority may actually be a financial force that can hold companies accountable.

Last Monday’s resignation of Lands’ End CEO Federica Marchionni appears to conclude a bizarre attempt to celebrate a company’s ethos by aligning with social activism. Marchionni, introduced a new “Legends Series” feature in the spring edition of the iconic Lands’ End catalog with an interview of Gloria Steinem as “(someone who) made a difference.” The interview also launched an initiative to fund an organization related to Steinem by passing along a portion of the monogramming fees from any item ordered with Steinem’s ERA Coalition logo.

Mark Cohen, the former CEO of Sears Canada pointed out the gravity of this misstep: “You don’t inject… the social conscience of Gloria Steinem into a mainstream brand like Lands’ End without running a real risk of brand abuse.”

We would add this is especially true when your business is known for supplying uniforms to private schools, of which many are faith-based.

Several schools did cancel accounts and the Steinem interview, along with any links to the fundraising initiative, disappeared from the company’s website. It appears Marchionni never recovered as Lands’ End stock prices tumbled in the late spring, weeks after the controversy.

While Lands’ End struggled through the summer months, Target, the nation’s second-largest discount retailer, was also taking a beating on the heels of a March announcement that promoted an all-comers bathroom and changing room policy, essentially a nod of solidarity with the current policy goals of liberal LGBT activists. Even though the retailer has stubbornly defended its decision, business has struggled amidst lagging sales. In fact, Target announced the departure of its e-commerce director just last Friday.

But the August announcement of a $20 million plan to install family friendly, single-stall bathroom facilities indicates Target might be cracking. The “accommodating” gesture without retraction probably won’t win back the 1.42 million who signed the American Family Association’s boycott pledge. We also don’t expect a corporate policy reversal given Target’s partnership with liberal organizations like Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT advocates spearheading the movement behind measures that have led to the so-called “bathroom bill” controversies in cities like Charlotte and Houston.

However, the developments with Target, and Lands’ End for that matter, indicate that conservatives may actually be voting with their dollars, the ultimate pressure point for every corporation.

 

H/T Dustin Siggins

Lance Wray is the Executive Director of 2ndVote, the conservative watchdog for corporate activism. Learn more at 2ndVote.com.

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  • Sonnys_Mom

    It is so refreshing– and reassuring– to read commentary like this. And just to know that we have millenial warriors who simply take it for granted that traditional values are good and right, and are ready to stand and fight for them.

  • Chip Crawford

    I agree. The action mattered! Originally, it was said that they would just reduce store staffing, thus not affecting any management persons, but not so it turns out. This is a lift amidst so much down developments these days.

  • NUWildcat

    I was a regular at Target until signing petition earlier this year. Have not looked back and it is nice to see that we are having an impact. Spending $20mm on gender neutral bathrooms is not enough to bring me back. I will return to Target the day they do a complete reversal. They operate very good stores but I have found that I can live without them.

  • guest

    I have boycotted { kohls } for years now,they used pro-abortion ashley judd in their print ads.And now that { under-armor } founder kevin plank played a round of golf with b.h.o. I won’t be buying any under-armor goods.

  • Bob Moore

    Starbucks, JC Pennys, Kohls, Under Armor, Lands End, and Target are all on my list of businesses that I will never patronize again. I once spent a small fortune at JC Pennys each year but when they started touting their pro-gay agenda and named Ellen D. as their spokesman, I immediately emailed their CEO. His reply was adamant that they had made the right choice in choosing this direction. In my reply email I pointed out the estimated lost revenue from my average annual spending at JC Penny for many years multiplied by what I estimate my lifespan to be (another 30 years). I have been blessed far more than I deserve in life and everything I have has come from God, but I also have the responsibility to use my blessings to God’s glory. I firmly believe that God would not be acceptable of my patronizing these businesses which support a lifestyle he directly speaks against in his word.

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